Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How To Dehydrate Apples!

Today I am going to show you how to make a simple recipe for a healthy snack that can be stored for a long time if stored right. All you need is organic apples, and acidic liquid(lemon, lime, pineapple, orange juice or ascorbic acid) to prevent the apples from browning. I used organic pure pineapple juice, a pearing knife, and a dehydrator. Cinnamon/nutmeg is optional. We have been snacking on these for some time, because Waynes mom has been making them for us. They will last 6-9 months in the pantry in an air tight bag, or jar. If stored in the freezer in freezer bags they will last much longer. You can rehydrate the apples by soaking them in warm/not boiling water for an hour. If you do so you can make cobblers, or pies!
First cut out the core of the apple. You can leave the skin on the apple for added fiber, or take it off with the pearing knife. Cut the apple into thin slices or rings. I have read 3/8'', 1/8'', 1/4'' slices. Just make sure they are all for the most part consistent in size. Place the sliced apples in the bowl of pineapple juice to soak for about 5 minutes, and then arrange the apples evenly on the dehydrator trays for an even air flow. This is where I sprinked the cinnamon. Next place the trays in the dehydrator and turned it on. There is no temperature gauge on the model I am using. But if yours does it is recommended around 130-140 degrees F. The apples can take anywhere from 4-10 hours(longer if yours were cut thicker). Turn the fruit, and rotate trays during this time. Mine will not take as long as I cut mine into very small pieces. They should be done to your standards- a fruit jerky or apple chips (chewy or crunchy). That is up to you. I read that alot of people do this before bed, and leave it on all night. When they wake up they have apple chips! Once done let them sit for 30 minutes to cool, and place them in a freezer bag for long term storage in the freezer. You can also keep them in an air tight container/food saver vacuum bags in your pantry. If kept in your pantry you can add them to your morning hot breakfast cerial, or take them on a day trip hiking. A grab and go snack!
There you have it. Let me know if you have questions. I am a beginner, so be easy on me. : )

Check out the websites where I found all of my information. Pubwages, eHow, & Seasonal Chef.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Regrow Your Celery!

I am on a roll in the kitchen! We blow through organic produce, so we are at the local market at least once a week. Whatever we can do to save a few dimes by growing things ourselves. We will! I am happy to share that you can grow celery in your house. It is very simple!
Cut the base off of the stalk just like the photo below, and place it in a small bowl or saucer with warm water. It gets the celery a kick start for regrowth. Leave it there for about a week. During that week the outer stalks will dry up. The inside leaves will become a nice green, and start getting fuller and growing taller. Change the water every couple of days while in this phase, and using a spray bottle- spray water directly down into the new growth. After the week has past. It is time to plant it! You can do this indoor or outdoor based on where you live/season.
Outdoor- dig a small hole, and fill it with water. With stalk side up- Put it in the water filled hole. Cover it up and leave an inch of soil on top. Water thoroughly.
Indoor- Place a thin layer of mulch in the bottom of the planter for drainage. In the planter use a mix of dirt and potting soil. Place the base far enough down to cover the stalks completely, and water thoroughly.
Celery grows very well with an abundance of water. Once the celery is fully grown cut the roots off. Cut the base. Soak it in warm water, and do it all over again! Save yourself some money and get soaking!

These last photos are located from 17 Apart. She did a full tutorial which is one of my sources-indoor potting(see here), and Providence Acres is the other for outdoor planting(see here).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Grow Green Onions In Water!

Alright everyone. Let me begin this with sharing that we are going to have a happy healthy homestead in the future! I am learning tips, and tricks left and right. I am having a Martha Stewart kind of week. I just learned that you can cut the ends off of your green onions about 1 or 2 inches above the roots. Place them in water, and put in a window and they will grow 1 to 2 inches a day. The more sun, the faster they will grow. You do need to add water as they drink it up quite quick, or just give it all new water every couple of days.  I did read somewhere to change out the water everyday(I am assuming because of the onion smell). So do what you have time for. Me- I am anxiously watching mine. I cut them yesterday, and they are already sprouting up. So I have planty time for them. I am just so excited to learn things like this. We will never need to buy green onions again. The more we collect- I will just move them to a larger jar, and get all different sizes going so we have a constant supply of them. You just chop it as you need it. Brilliant right?! I hate to waste. We do not have a compost. So the more we can regrow effortlessly, and keep out of the trash can- The happier I am. You can do the exact same thing with chives too! Also note- Once they are fully grown or if you grew too many- place them in a small container with soil to keep your harvest going.
Now get growing Martha! Ask me if you have any questions. eHow Home is a good resource for this project- here. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sprouting Seeds Through Winter

I am proud to announce I am sprouting lentils! I got inspiration to do so from this post by Honest Fare. A yummy and educational food blog. When lentils are sprouted their health benefits increase by 300%! Lentils have all 8 essential faty acids. Rich in protein, Vitamin C, and B vitamins. As soon as I saw these numbers I hopped up and started rinsing a handfull of lentils. Wayne asked me what I was doing. It was amazing because the day after I started sprouting- Wayne was playing a video of an author of a survival book talking about how sprouting is a good idea, because it doesn't draw attention to your home. You can sprout in your kitchen, and need little or no sunlight. The dried beans will also store indefinitely. Gardens are an obvious target for people who are hungry.  So there is a survival tip for you : )
To sprout: You rinse them a few times in cold water before letting them sit over night in a bowl to expand and soak. Inspect and take out the split beans. After at least 8 hours place them in a jar, put cheesecloth over the top, and a tight rubberband. 1 cup of lentils per 1/2 quart jar. Fill it no more than 1/3 of the way so there is adequate space for growth. Give them a rinse with cold water, and drain. Rinse and drain again that night. Do not leave any large puddles in the bottom of the jar. Let them drain well, and do this over and over for the next 4 days. Once in the morning, and again at night. On the 4th day let them sit in the windowsill to increase their chlorophyll, and on the 5th day they are ready to be eaten, and stored in the fridge in a ziplock bag with a paper towel lining. They will keep for about a week. Enjoy raw or in soups and salads!
There you go! Read more about what exactly you can sprout here and get started!

Second set of photo's by Honest Fare- source is here.

Read in great detail how and why there are so many health benefits of sprouting here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Curious Parts & Pieces Of Country Life

I made it over to Portland Homestead Supply Co. today. I am in love! I didn't have my camera on me, so I had to take cell phone pictures(Sorry for the bad quality). I just wanted to give you guys an idea of the ambiance, and nature of the store.  The store had fresh eggs that were brough in same day, 2 goats, 2 ducks, and tons of baby chicks of all different kinds. Any tool you can possibly think of for any type of homesteading need- This store has got it! I set out to buy something while I was in there- to support them. I bought a book full of adorable and educational illustrations called "Farm Anatomy- The Curious Parts & Pieces Of Country Life". I highly recommend checking it out. I flipped open the pages and instantly learned that on average 1 hen lays 260 eggs per year. 1 hen!
I hope as I learn to be more self sufficient, and make a direct connection with my food- you will learn, and possibly be inspired to do it yourself! Check back as I am going to start dehydrating fruit!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our Individual Responsibility To Buy Local

If you couldn't tell I am inspired to get cannin', jammin' & picklin'. So I purched two books today off of Amazon(here & here). I am ready to learn the basics, tips, and tricks. I am also interested in the recipes. I plan to have a small canning party (consisting of 3 people total-haha). Wayne's mom is on the hunt for a good pressure cooker. She has all the knowledge I crave. So as I learn, I want to teach you! I am hoping to get all of you to start thinking more about what you eat, and starting a significant food storage to last you a while. Healthy things that you always eat. Think of your body as an engine. You want to keep it working consistently a long time, but as you may figure- that will take regular maintenance. You have to keep things clean, and flowing-No build up. You want the cleanest and most high quality products for your special engine. Just think if you didn't maintain the engine, you would pay whatever it takes to fix it if it broke. You only get one! But why wasn't it worth it to you to have preventative maintenance? Let's protect our engines, and the environment around it. Do you get what I am saying? The message here is support local farmers, grow food yourself if you can, and eat organic. If there is a 'right' way or 'natural' way to do things. Do it. Your engine needs it! So does your family, and local economy when you buy local. The famous American trend forcaster Gerald Celente says to break the chains! Meaning break the chains from corporate store chains and we will have our economy back and booming. Support the people around you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hip Urban Homesteaders

Where do I start?  Here in Portland, I just found out that there is a a company just across the river called Portland Homestead Supply Co.. I plan to go check it out, maybe even tomorrow! I am so excited to have a local company we will support alot in the future, as we work our way off the grind. They are a one-stop resource for urban homesteaders. "We strive to source products made locally or in the US, with an emphasis on non-electric items". So I will be posting again once we check out what they have. Maybe I will even get involved with some of their classes and demonstrations.

On to some inspiration.. Canning, and preserving are(sorry to say) not the hippest thing in the world to do. The simple design of these labels gives canning a whole new name. They seem fresh, and new. The labels make the product appear expensive, and top of the line. I coudn't be more inspired to get a few fruit trees. So we can get started jammin'. I bet I would 'jam' listening to reggae. Now that is hip!
Check out more photo's of the labels here.

Next is inspiration for having our giant garden! I want to can everything! With the help of a few good books and Waynes mom. It will be possible! I plan to get all of our friends and family together, and each year have canning parties! The blog Cottage Industrialist had a guest post featuring free printables from Kristen Magee at Paper Crave. Get inspired to have a canning party yourself with her fun photos, and free printables!
Check out her post here to download. She also has links to websites for canning supplies and recipes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ceramic Herb Garden Labels- By Paulova Etsy Shop

I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite Paulova Ceramic items. I have seen her herb garden labels all over the place. I am always on the hunt for garden accessories, and tools. I am dreaming of the days on our tiny farm(See my pinterest board). I finally visited Paula's Etsy shop based out of San Fransisco, CA and found a new love! I love the light pastel colors, her use of texture, cork tops, and simplicity. Her shop profile says she is inspired by the clean lines of Scandinavian design. Completely gorgeous..
Check out her shop here.

Photo source for drying herbs- here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We Are So Good Together.

With love in the air(as it should always be). I found this product- A collaboration between Pigeon Toe Ceramics and Illustrator/Stylist/Optimist Shanna Murray. Two stacking vessels, could be filled with both of your favorite things to enjoy together. They would make a really great wedding or anniversary gift. I wish they were big enough to be soup bowls, or coffee mugs. That would make for really good photos. Both of us holding our bowls up while eating, or holding our coffee cups together. They could be used as an engagement photo, or wedding day photography(hint..Kristy). Extremely adorable ideas, and such a simple find.
These "vessels" are only 4 ounces. In cup terms is only half a cup! Now what could we use that for? Salsa? Salsa for 2.. Sounds romantic. (I know.. I'll hush) Just enjoy the simplicity, and sweet illustration. Buy the stacking vessels here at Pigeon Toe Ceramics.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine's Day- Eat Drink Chic "Cozy Night In" Printables

Valentine's Day is coming up. I don't care much for the holiday really- We leave sweet notes, and treats around the house quite often so it is just any other day to us. I will say it is fun for kids to exchange valentine's though. We had a telegram service in my grade school so all classes could give eachother notes & candies. So it is cute.. My mom always made each of us kids a goodie bag too. : ) One thing I do love to do with Wayne is have a couch picnic. We couch picnic all of the time, without giving it a name! (hehe)

Eat Drink Chic created these printables for a "Couch Picnic Party". Simple, cheap and fun! I'm going to leave it to her to tell you how to make this DIY project, and she has tons more photos!
Plan your "Cozy Night In For 2". Click here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How To Make Organic Vanilla Extract!

I became completely inspired to make vanilla extract because I came across a Call Me Cupcake blog post. She said it was two ingredients. My mouth dropped.. How is that possible? Vodka and Vanilla Beans! It is just about as simple as that. Let me show you how.
We bought our vanilla beans online. They are organic and Tahitian. Tahitian beans- are flowery, fruity and anisic with a smooth flavor. There are three different kinds of vanilla beans so not every extract will be identical. Next step was buying an organic vodka. There were only a couple of organic options at the liquor store we went to. So that is the reason for the selection. You can use any liquor you want for making vanilla extract, but go for one with at least an 80 proof (or 40% alcohol). Vodka is commonly used because of its neutral or “flavorless” taste, allowing the flavor of the vanilla to really come through. Next all sanitized items- a knife/scissors, a mason jar, and a measuring cup.
You need three vanilla beans for each cup of vodka. The one pictured is a 2 cup mason jar. So six vanilla beans are being used.

Each bean has to be cut down the center starting at one end, and leaving the other connected. This exposes the seeds inside to the vodka. As they are split place them in the mason jar.
Measure one cup of vodka, and pour it over the beans.
Measure the second cup of vodka, and pour that also over the beans.
Now shake that baby up! You will see the seeds floating around. Next- place a label with the date on it, because it needs to be stored in a dark and cool cabinet for at least two months. You will need to shake it one to two times each week. You can keep your jar of vanilla extract going indefinitely by refreshing it with additional beans and refilling it with more liquor. Since it’s primarily alcohol, vanilla extract can last decades. Below pictured is what one day old vanilla extract looks like.
I purchased cute amber jars, and have created a vintage style label to print out to be gifted once these babies are ripe and ready. I will post the completed product when they are well and ready for distribution.
Source: here